Sun Pharma Appoints David Kaysen as CEO Amidst Equity Activity and Phase I Pancreas Cancer Trials

Published: Sep 16, 2015

Sun BioPharma Appoints David Kaysen as CEO Amidst Equity Activity and Phase I Pancreas Cancer Trials
September 16, 2015
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Minneapolis-based Sun BioPharma, Inc. announced today that David Kaysen will head the company as president and chief executive officer, and as a member of the board of directors. He will start immediately.

Kaysen has more than 25 years of experience in clinical development for both U.S. and European healthcare companies. He served as president and chief executive officer of Uroplasty from 2006 to 2013, a global medical device company that is now owned by Cogentix Medical. He was also president and chief executive officer of Advanced Duplications Services, LLC, president, chief executive officer and director of Diametrics Medical, Inc., and president, chief executive officer and director of Rehabilicare, Inc.

“Dave’s proven track record leading healthcare companies, specifically in guiding programs through the clinical development process, makes him the ideal executive to lead our company through the next phase of its development,” said Michael Cullen, executive chairman of Sun BioPharma in a statement. “David’s public company knowledge navigating the equity capital markets and operational experience will be especially valuable as we begin the Phase I clinical study of SBP-101 in Australia, later this year.”

On Aug. 31, the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Investigational New Drug (IND) status to SBP-101, a polyamine analogue. SBP-101 was licensed from the University of Florida and is being investigated as a potential drug for pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. The Phase I study into pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is planned to start in Australia before the end of 2015. It is also expected to start in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2016.

The company’s press release repeatedly emphasizes Kaysen’s experience with both public and private companies, as well as his experience with equity capital markets. Yesterday OctaFinance reported that the company had disclosed a new equity position, and that Ryan Randall Gilbertson had filed a SC 13D form, indicating he now owned 22.6 percent of the company, holding 7,515,936 shares. Gilbertson co-founded Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. in 2006. He is currently a principal of Crystal Bay Capital, a subsidiary of Crystal Bay Companies, a Wayzata, Minnesota-based boutique investment bank.

A day earlier, Donald Robert Schemel filed a SC 13G form regarding Sun BioPharma, indicating he now owns 12.5 percent of the company, with 3,727,836 shares. The 13G is required when the filer owns between 5 percent and 20 percent of a company, but only plans to be a passive investor. In comparison to the 13D form, a 13G filer does not plan to participate in hostile takeovers or other change of control events.

Form 13D is a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SED) filing that is required to be filed within 10 days by any individual who acquires beneficial ownership of more than 5 percent of any publicly traded securities. As OctaFinance states, “These filings may be a precursor to hostile takeovers, company breakups, and other ‘change of control’ events.”

Douglas Michael Polinsky also filed an SC 13G on Sept. 4, 2015, indicating he owns 8.6 percent of the company with 2,711,557 shares.

The company on Sept. 9, 2015, adopted the OTCPink symbol SNBP. The OTC Pink marketplace offers trading of equity securities through any broker. The OTC Pink market is considered the lowest, most “speculative” market tier for speculative stocks. As described by Investopedia, “OTC Pink, the most speculative marketplace, can still trade some high-quality companies, which for one reason or another are unable to release audited up-to-date financials. For instance, a company undergoing an extensive accounting review may fall on the OTC Pink because it lacks audited financials. But there are also some worthless companies. Because a wide range of companies are listed, each with a unique profile and level of public information, investors need to be even more diligent when selecting stocks from this market.”

Kaysen, for his part, seems focused on the clinical trials. “SBP-101 represents a novel approach to treat pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis and has the potential to become a game-changer,” said Kaysen in a statement. “I look forward to working with Michael and our organization as we execute our plan to move SBP-101 through the clinic to achieve the goal of meeting unmet medical needs while generating value for our shareholders.”

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